Byzantium in the 12th-15th centuries

Foreign political failures intensified internal turmoil in the Byzantine Empire. In the course of the struggle for power, the military aristocracy won, which led Alexei I Komnin to the path. He became the founder of the Komnin dynasty, which ruled the state until 1185. It was a brilliant period in the history of Byzantium.

Unlike the rulers of Western Europe in the Byzantine emperor, his subjects saw a ruler with unlimited power, a sacred person. These representations were supported by a rather complex ceremony. Before the appearance of basileus, it was necessary to fall prostrate, in his presence it was not allowed to sit. In 1096, the leaders of the Crusaders not only refused to comply with these demands, but one of them, Count Robert of Paris, in front of everyone sat down on the throne of Alexei Komnin. When he was asked to get up, explaining that subjects can not sit next to basileus, let alone on his throne, Robert replied: “What a savagery! One sits when there are

so many glorious warriors around him.”

Alexey Komnin managed to bring the empire out of a difficult crisis, to defeat rebellious nobles and dangerous external enemies. To combat the Seljuk Turks, Alexei Komnin addressed the European rulers with a letter of help, which was the reason for the start of the First Crusade. Vasilevs obtained from the leaders of the Crusaders a vassal oath for the lands that they will conquer, and even the transfer of their part of Byzantium.

At the beginning of the XIII century. In Byzantium, the dynastic struggle intensified. This was the reason for the intervention of knights in her internal affairs during the Fourth Crusade. In April 1204 the Crusaders broke into Constantinople and devastated it.

XIII cent. From the chronicle of Geoffroy de Villarduin “Conquest of Constantinople”

That night… someone set fire to a block that separated us from the Greeks. And the city began to burn terribly: and burned all night until the evening of the next day. This was the third fire in Constantinople since the arrival of the Franks, and more houses were

burned, as they were at that time in the three largest cities of France.

… Others scattered around the city and collected prey; This production was so much that no one could determine the amount of gold, silver, jugs, jewelry, velvet, silk fabric, furs and other things found…

Everyone chose for themselves a house that they only wished, and there were enough houses for everyone.

For some time the Byzantine Empire ceased to exist. In its territory was formed the Latin Empire of the Crusaders with a center in Constantinople, as well as several Byzantine countries, the strongest among which was the Nicene Empire. In 1261 the Nicene Emperor Michael VIII Palaeologus managed to restore Constantinople and restore the Byzantine Empire. But she never rose to the heights of her former glory and power. Meanwhile, the onslaught of the Turks became stronger.

The Byzantines began to seek allies. Part of the nobility sought help in the West. For this, she was willing to pay off the loss of church sovereignty or even the adoption of Catholicism. The other part was convinced of religious tolerance, and believed that it was better to tolerate the Turban of the Sultan than the cap of the cardinal.

In 1453 the young and energetic Turkish sultan Mehmed II the Conqueror assembled a huge army and came out against Constantinople. The city was taken under siege, but heroically defended. And only on May 29, 1453 the Turks stormed the Byzantine capital. Most of the defenders of Constantinople died. The Turks made a terrible pogrom in the city.

On the same day, Mehmed II proclaimed Constantinople the Sultan’s capital and so compelled the soldiers to stop robbery. In the fire of fires, amazing monuments of art and valuable manuscripts died.

The Temple of St. Sophia was preserved, but turned into the main Sultan’s mosque. Constantinople was renamed Istanbul and became the capital of the Ottoman Empire.

Turban – headpiece in the form of a cloth wrapped around the head.

The manuscript is manuscript on papyrus, parchment, paper, written by hand from beginning to end by one man. Work on the creation of manuscripts lasted for years.

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Byzantium in the 12th-15th centuries